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Common App Essay Prompts

Applying to university is a complicated process, but the most stressful part for most students are the essays. This is the element that separates equally qualified applicants and can prove to be the difference between an acceptance or a no thank you.

The writing process takes time. It is estimated that most applications take between five to ten hours to complete. Writing a strong essay requires personal reflection, an outline, a pre-write, a series of drafts, and then many rounds of editing. The writer must balance constructive feedback with their own choices about how best to tell their own story. Students are often tempted to ask lots of people to look over their essays, but too many editors can spoil the writer's story because it sounds less and less like them. It’s tricky.

Personal essays need to be purposeful, memorable and leave the reader feeling like they better understand you as a person. They are not about rehashing your academic or athletic achievements; that information already appears in other areas of the application like your transcripts and activities list. The essay should give insight into who you are as a person, what is important to you, and what skills, insights and outlooks you will bring to their campus. All in around 600 words. Again, it’s tricky.

It is very important to work with someone you can trust to help guide you in the right direction. At Next Level College Application we are experts in the writing process and helping you tell your story. We take the time to get to know you and what you are all about before guiding you through the essay writing experience. You are the author, but we can help you get to the root of what you want universities to know about you. It’s tricky, but we know how to help!

Meet with a counselor today and see how we can help you or check out our website at

If you're curious about the Common Application prompts for 2022-2023, here they are:

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

  4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Email us at and see how we can help you with your application and make your Senior year as enjoyable as possible for you and your family.

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